by George Doktorczyk
I inquired by email to Councilman Greenwell asking if the now infamous article on Guantanamo detainees was true. In that email, I indicated that I would circulate his response to the same people. Well here it is.
Mr. Greenwell opted to reply by phone on July 2. My initial reaction to the call was “wow" “pleasant surprise”, “approval” and those kinds of feelings. But the pleasure was short lived. After but a few seconds, it changed to disappointment and dismay.
It wasn’t more than two or three sentences into the conversation that he became rude, arrogant, combative and boorish!
Here’s how it went…
- Me: Hello
- Greenwell: Hi. This is Kelly Greenwell. I am calling about the e-mail you sent me. How can I help you?
- Me: Well thank you for taking the time to call. As I said in my note, I want to know if the article in the WHT about your offer regarding the Guantanamo detainees is factual.
- Greenwell: Exactly what do you want to know?
- Me: Only if you actually proposed to the Mayor and the President that the Guantanamo detainees be released into the general population here in Hawaii .
- Greenwell: Do you have something against that?
- Me: Yes I do. I think it’s a bad idea.
- Greenwell: What’s a bad idea? Are you against reducing conflict, ending suffering and stopping wars?
- Me: That’s not the point. What I think……
- Greenwell (rudely interrupts): Do you know anything about Hawaiian history or culture?
- Me: I think those are personal views; I just want to know if you actually made the offer and if…..
- Greenwell (he interrupts again): How long have you lived here?
- Me: 10 years, but that has nothing to do….. (another interruption)
- Greenwell: You come here without knowing anything about the land and the people and then you want to tell me how I should do my job. Hawaii has always offered refuge to the persecuted and the victimized.
- Me: Whether I agree or disagree with your idea is not the issue. I think that before making the offer, you should have run it past the people you represent.
- Greenwell: My constituency knows me and they know what I stand for. When they elected me they got the whole package and they gave me the authority to do what needs to be done. If you voted for me you have to accept my position. If you did not I don’t owe you an explanation.
- Me: I don't think that's how it's supposed to work in a democracy.
The above quotes are taken verbatim from my answering machine before it cut-off. That part of the call was inadvertently recorded (as is with most of these devices, the recorder was activated because I did not answer the phone right away).
The dialogue (mostly monologue..... the councilman pouncing on me!) continued for another minute or so when it got to the point where I had to say to the him that his badgering was getting us nowhere other than to agree that we disagree.
What an eye opener! I was respectful and courteous when I repeatedly try to say that I did not want to debate the merits of his proposal and that all I wanted was to know if the article in the WHT was accurate. When I attempted to redirect the conversation to the issue, he was defensive and combative. And when I tried to answer his questions, he would interrupt and raise his voice.
So much for style and on to the significant.
I initially gave Mr. Greenwell the benefit of the doubt and sent the email to allow him an opportunity to respond. It was never my intent to debate the substance of his position. Even before calling him I was pretty sure that it is a terrible idea. Now I am totally convinced.
Needless to say, I gleaned very little of substance from my chat with the councilman. The only tenants of his offer/proposal I came away with were that
- his proposal is a way to promote peace, reduce conflict and advance the cause of democracy,
- in his view, the detainees have not been found guilty of any crime or wrong doing, and
- the Hawaiian culture and credo have always allowed for refuge and forgiveness,
- his constituency agrees with his position,
My objection to his idea is based on the fact that the people being held in Guantanamo are for the most part, know or suspected terrorist, allied to Muslim radical extremists who, in the words of Indrek Wichman, have openly and willingly acknowledged linkage to groups that actively promote and participate in
- the imposition of Koran and Sharia law on non-Muslims,
- defiant and horrific attacks on American civilians (lest we forget 9-1-1 ),
- rapes of young girls and women, including their own,
- mass murder of non-believers for political and spiritual gain,
- persecution and murder of Catholic priests and Jewish Rabbis,
- the continued decimation of Coptic Christians in Egypt ,
- burning of Jewish temples and Christian churches,
- beheadings of fellow civilians and countrymen,
- murder of film directors and authors,
- rioting and looting in major cities in Europe ,
- cowardly attacks on public places in Europe the Far East ,
- attacks on U.S. Embassies throughout the World,
- and so on.
It is an affront to me and it should be to you, that a small time politician would unilaterally offer sanctuary in our island to such people. I am also offended by his statement that he does not owe us an explanation. In a democracy, elected officials represent the people. They are not rulers and we cannot allow them to be authoritarian or dictatorial despots.
It frightens me to think that his real motive may have been an attempt to further his political career by mollifying (ass kissing) the Mayor and the President.
Councilman Greenwell was defiant and apathetic when I said that I plan to share his response with everyone I copied on my first email. He implied that he does not think the few people I contact will affect his political career. He obviously doesn't understand the clout of networking or the impetus of the internet…… and he obviously does not know my tenacity.
For his edification (yes, he is getting a copy of this) here are some very conservative numbers:
If I touch bases with 300 people and half of them influence 10 others and half of them dissuade another 5 each, and so on, the chain ends with 1 person doing nothing. However, by then we will have planted a seed of doubt as to Mr. Greenwell capability and concern about his ineptness with as few as 12,000 and possibly as many as 30,000 people. That would be enough to make a difference. So, if you share my sentiment, do your part.
I actually think we've already started a bit of a groundswell. I’ve been checking WHT for the letters to the editor. Several of the folks who wrote in were motivated by my original inquiry to the councilman.
If this resurfaces again at election time (and I will make sure it does), it should be enough to influence the outcome. If I were Mr. Greenwell, I would not waste the time and money, his and the taxpayers, in any future attempt to continue in politics.
George Doktorczyk is a Kailua-Kona resident.
RELATED: Hawaii County Councilman: Release Guantanamo detainees in Hawaii , WHT: Greenwell: Give us the Gitmo guys
LINK: PDF of Greenwell Letter to Kenoi , PDF of Greenwell letter to Obama